NRL 2021: 'Liberal left' driving intolerance of different opinions - Mark Richardson on Israel Folau

Israel Folau's possible NRL return has sparked debate on The AM Show, with Mark Richardson claiming people can gain resilience from being exposed to different opinions, while Amanda Gillies insists he should not be allowed back.

Folau, a fundamentalist Christian, is reportedly about to make an NRL comeback, with Australian media reporting St George Illawarra Dragons have applied to allow him to return on a two-year deal. 

Folau's contract with Rugby Australia was terminated in 2019, after he posted his views on homosexuality on social media, saying "hell awaits" drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators. 

His homophobic views sparked a massive public outcry, but AM Show sports reader and former cricket international 'Rigor' Richardson says the world has become more intolerant to different points of view.

"There will always be people who disagree with your way of thinking, and the only way you can gain strength and resilience to such opinions and sides are to be exposed to them," Richardson says.

"I think the world is becoming more and more intolerant to [a] difference of opinions and that is being driven by a liberal left, who are screaming right now - it's a hypocrisy."

AM Show host Duncan Garner says Folau shouldn't be shut out.

"Bring Israel into the mix, let him play his game of footy and teach him what tolerance looks like - that's how you do it. You embrace him, you love him and you hug him with kindness."

Newsreader Gillies disagrees.

"When he's in a position that he is - he is a leader and he is a role model and that is just facts - and you've got kids who look up to him and listen to him, and you've got kids who are struggling with their sexuality who are committing suicide far too often," Gillies says.

"[There are] kids who are also playing rugby league who are also struggling with their sexuality who want to come out, who want to be a part of life as they should and you've got people like him tweeting stuff like that? Nup, get him out of here."

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo says it would hear the views of fans and sponsors, before allowing a potential return.

"Any player or official needs to be registered with the NRL. That registration process involves a number of due diligence matters.

"Of course, you always have to have an open mind, you have to follow due process and you have to be fair, and we'll follow that process.

"Any decision that you make, you need to think about the fans, you need to think about your investors and sponsors, and all of that will be taken into account, but ultimately, it's the NRL's decision."